Moving away to uni can be extremely daunting, even if, like me, you've done it a couple of times already. Not only are you leaving your family behind, you're also leaving your room behind- that sanctuary where you feel warm, comfortable and safe. It's also likely that you'll be living in a different place each year, so getting comfortable in a new room is something you'll have to get used to.
If you're going into first year especially, you're likely to feel like your halls room doesn't quite feel homely at first. Everyone's room looks the same and they're often quite small, so decorating has to be done efficiently. However, it's important that you don't neglect making your room your own, as coming home to a room you don't feel comfortable in can really kill your mood.
This is a problem I actually struggled with last year. I had just moved into my second year room and felt a little bit uncomfortable in it. It was cold, dusty and too big to fill with enough things to make it homely. However, I did learn some useful things that made the room feel steadily more like one I was comfortable in, which I have continued to do this year.
In my opinion a uni room should be three things: practical, comfortable and personal.
Addressing the first of those, for a room to be practical it has to be somewhere that you're comfortable working in. This is especially important this year, as you're likely to not be in uni very often and the Robbo reopening seems like a distant dream at this point. One of the most important things to making your room practical is keeping your desk tidy. That doesn't mean it has to be bare, as you'll see from my desk that I have a lightbox and a clock on mine- but making sure you have enough room for your laptop and notebook is essential.
It's also a good idea to have some organisational items such as baskets or stacking trays to keep your stationary in. Having a to do list on something like a hanging whiteboard can also help you to concentrate when essays start to pile up.
Something you also shouldn't overlook which will make your room more practical is having hooks or trinket trays to help organise everyday items. You'll notice that I keep my keys on a hook by the door and my everyday coat is also on a hook on the back of my door. This has been a lifesaver this year as I often spent a couple of minutes each morning looking for my keys before leaving the house last year.
Making your room comfortable is really simple. Something as simple as having some cushions on your bed for when you aren't sleeping and a blanket for cold nights can really make a difference to how you feel when you're in your room.
Invest in some good pillows and a warm duvet because the nights can get cold up in the toon and you don't want to be up all night shivering.
I struggle to get to sleep quite frequently so I also have some lavender pillow spray which is nice and soothing. Candles are also an essential to keep your room smelling good and can be purchased from almost anywhere for relatively cheap.
Last but not least, making your room personal is arguably the most important of the three. I've surrounded myself with my hobbies, the main one of which is music. I have posters of gigs I've been to and bands that I love. My cushions are also musically themed and I have two Radiohead clocks just so everyone knows what a sad little man I am! Having a record player in my room also makes a massive difference and although it's not quite the setup I have at my parent's house it still brings me a lot of joy.
Having things that other people gave to me also adds a nice personal touch. My lager poster was given to me by one of my closest friends and my Spuddy and "love bug" were given to me by my mum. Photos of family and friends are also a must.
Making your room personal can be a work in progress and although I'd say my room is fairly well decorated I'm definitely not finished with it. I'd like to add some plants to the mix- and hopefully keep them alive longer than a month this year- and I also plan on making some more home accessories. I've kept a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale to turn into a candle and I'm also planning on making some letter bunting out of cardboard beer boxes. very student chic I know.
Creating your own home-away-from-home can be a lengthy process. However, it doesn't have to be a stressful one.
Making sure that you decorate your room at least partially within the first few days of your arrival can lead to a much happier settling in period. Then, once you've settled in the real fun starts and you can go wild with accessories. In no time at all you'll find that your uni room starts to feel just as cozy as your room at home!